During our first days back at work after the move, Kay noticed that from the hours of 6-8pm (you know, when we get home from work) the retractable awnings were doing close to nothing to shade us while we tried to eat on our balcony.
The sun was setting and covering the already sun-baked tiles in a blaze of fiery light. And that perturbed Kay as he tried to eat his dinners and lay in his hammock.
It bothered him so much that in our first full work week in the flat, he brought home tools from work to try and turn the awnings at a lower angle so that they would block out more sun. This involved a lot of lifting (on my part) and cursing on Kay’s part.
It was easy to lower the first side, but he was having trouble making the awnings lay straight. They were lopsided. Kay went to fix the awning on the right and he could not for the life of him get the awning to lower. And this all happened to be during the sunniest time on the balcony.
Meanwhile, my arms were getting incredibly sore and I was increasingly frustrated that we were spending time messing with the awnings and possibly, very expensively, breaking them instead of spending time organizing our very messy new home. We were both really worried that Kay had somehow broken them.
We left them lopsided for the evening and went to bed defeated.
Below you can actually see that the flats above us have awnings that come out and then flip down to really block the sun coming in. They didn’t do them like this on the big terrace level because we obviously have a lot more walking area, but we were a little envious of our smaller-balcony neighbors enjoying a shady dinner.
After a few days and some more calls to the awning business that told Kay this was an “easy fix” he figured out how it worked to fix the awnings. We got one side down as low as we wanted, but by then it was too dark to see if the shade was worth the cost of not being able to walk under the awning anymore.
We waited another day until I took these pictures and you could see that the shade below is a lot more than it was before, where it was almost non-existent. But to Kay, it still wasn’t enough shade and having to duck under the awning in the middle of the balcony was a huge waste of terrace real estate.
So you know what we did? We got back out there and put the awnings back up to their original spots. (Ugh, more lifting… I’m such a weenie!)
I stood there holding the awnings, my arms burning… wondering why we did anything in the first place, but some things you don’t figure out until you try them out.
It took awhile, but we got both awnings level with each other again. They are still great during the daytime, but it’s clear that with our “sunny balcony” we will have to invest in some other sun blocking solution elsewhere on the balcony so that we can enjoy some shadier dinners. And thankfully we didn’t really break the awnings. I don’t want to imagine how much they would have cost to repair or replace.
And you won’t find me complaining about how sunny it is… I’m glad for it! And I’m sure we will appreciate the sun more when the temperatures dip down lower towards the autumn. It will make the balcony more useable during the year than otherwise.
Did you ever have any big “Why did we do that??” moments with house projects?